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The criminal justice system's considerations of so-called near-virtual autopsies: the East Midlands experience
  1. A Jeffery1,
  2. V Raj2,
  3. B Morgan2,
  4. K West3,
  5. G N Rutty1
  1. 1East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK
  2. 2Imaging Department, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK
  3. 3Department of Histopathology, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr A Jeffery, PO Box 1147, Winscombe, BS25 1TA, UK;drajeffery{at}


Background While several research groups champion the potential for postmortem CT (PMCT) to replace the invasive postmortem (PM), many questions still remain.

Aims Perhaps the two most important questions are whether PMCT can provide the same level of information as an invasive PM, and arguably more importantly, can it meet the needs of the end users of the PM report. Through a comparative analysis of invasive post-mortem and CT findings and a questionnaire based qualitative thematic analysis, the authors have sought to answer these questions.

Results and Conclusion Here, the authors show that PMCT is good at providing accurate causes of death and that the interpretation of cases is not significantly altered by the absence of histology. The authors show that in straightforward trauma deaths such as road traffic incidents, there exists the potential for the replacement of the invasive PM by PMCT examination. However, as yet, PMCT cannot provide all of the information that is expected by the criminal justice system in complex forensic cases.

  • Forensic
  • autopsy
  • CT
  • near virtual
  • criminal justice system
  • histopathology
  • autopsy pathology
  • colorectal cancer
  • gall bladder
  • P53
  • oncogenes
  • pancreas
  • forensic pathology
  • computer assisted

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.